Basis of new British “Protector” drone test flown in California

 Predator B Long Wing variant - test flown on 18 February 2016 - Photo: General Atomics
Predator B Long Wing variant – test flown on 18 February 2016 – Photo: General Atomics

General Atomic has test flown a new version of its Predator B (Reaper) unmanned aircraft that is the basis for David Cameron’s so-called “Protector” drone.

New 79-foot wings – 13 feet longer than previous – have been added to the Extended Range version of the infamous Predator drone.  40 of the Extended Range (with increased fuel-capacity) have been delivered to the USAF recently for “field testing”. The new design with increased wing lengths will increase flight times of the drone from 27 hours to 40 hours say the company. Read more

UK rebrands Predators as ‘Protectors’ while ignoring difficult questions

In an interview with the Telegraph ahead of the Tory party conference, David Cameron announced that the UK is to again double the UK’s fleet of armed drones, this time up from 10 US Reapers to 20 ‘Protector’ drones.  No such drone currently exists and some began to wonder whether Cameron had simply got the name wrong. However later clarification from the MoD seemed to indicate that the ‘Protector’ was to be the British name for the longer range and extended endurance Predator-B drone (commonly known as the Reaper) which is currently going through a development programme in the US in part to gain the necessary certification to fly in European airspace (although this is not confirmed). Read more